7 eCommerce Mistakes Store Owners Should Avoid
Taking the world by storm, eCommerce is growing rapidly and slowly ousting long-standing retail outlets. It’s estimated that 1.92 billion people will be digital buyers in 2019-20, that’s around 25% of the world’s population.
The business is attractive and lucrative, but eCommerce store owners have their work cut out for them as competition is on the rise. It’s easy to get lost in the mix and this is one of the reasons why 90% of startups fail, including those from the eCommerce niche.
To be in the 10% that succeed, there are critical things to take care of. Here, we address the mistakes you should avoid in order to run a successful eCommerce store.
Top eCommerce Mistakes That You Should Avoid
1) Jumping straight in without identifying your audience
You may have the perfect product, an optimized website, and the best user experience. But none of it will matter if you don’t understand your customer.
Amazon is the go-to shopping portal for customers worldwide. You need to give them a good reason to choose to shop from you and not Amazon.
To do this, you need to target a specific audience and create a culture of belonging and trust. The best way to do this is to use data! Gather information about your potential customers, understand their interest, whether you provide something they need or something they want. ‘Needs’ solve problems for them, whereas ‘wants’ satisfy their desires.
You can get a lot of insight into your customers by identifying their behavior, patterns, and values.
There are many ways you can identify your audience. Surveys, competitor analysis, and market research are textbook methods. But you also bank on networking, conversations with experienced folk, and your own experience, knowledge, and intuition.
2) Trying something new too soon and making things complicated
We all want to be unique and have a website that sets us apart from the rest. But truth be told, customers like familiar settings. While shopping, they prefer to know their whereabouts instead of having to figure it out with every new website.
Therefore, it’s ideal in this case to stick to the prevailing trend of website navigation, product categorization, and checkout process.
Now, this doesn’t mean to say you can’t try something new or introduce new ideas and technology to your website. It simply means before you try something new, test it out and see how the market reacts. You can do this using a method called A/B testing or you can also run surveys.
Just remember, don’t complicate things for your customers. Make your CTAs and buttons bold and easy to find. From signing up to shopping to checkout, your goal should be to make it smooth and easy.
3) Not having reliable customer support in place
Customer support costs money and needs manpower. Many eCommerce stores – especially new and upcoming ones – ignore this factor hoping that when they make enough money, they’ll start providing this service.
But in reality, great customer support will help you make money and without it, you stand to lose business. It leaves store owners in a catch 22 situation.
Customers need their queries and issues to be resolved – quickly and cordially, regardless of whether you can afford it or not.
Before you price your products, you need to factor in the costs of customer service. If you can’t afford it or don’t have resources to dedicate to it, create a detailed FAQ section. You can also set up a chatbot that will handle the basic queries. Anything it cannot answer can be passed on for human intervention.
Remember, in today’s digital age, having one avenue of contact is insufficient. You should ideally provide multiple channels of support such as phone, email, SMS, chatbot or a form on the website.
4) Ignoring SEO
SEO has unfortunately got a bad reputation for keyword targeting and stuffing. Many eCommerce stores don’t pay attention to it and chalk it down to ‘rubbish’.
But SEO is so much more than keywords. The main aim of SEO is to provide users with relevant results and the best experience. You can optimize your SEO by creating a blog to target your audience. However, there are many technical aspects you need to take care of as well.
- You need to ensure you don’t have duplicate pages.
- You need to fix pages with errors like 404.
- It’s also helpful if you have a sitemap for the search engine bots to crawl your website easily.
- You need to analyze and optimize your crawl budget.
- You’ll need to optimize your page speed and website’s responsiveness.
- Most importantly, sign up for Google Search Console and Analytics.
You’ll get insights into your customers – where they come from, how many come, how long they stay on your page, and how many customers leave your site.
You can also see how many make purchases, how many abandon their carts, which pages do really well and which don’t. This will help you fix errors on your site and improve pages and products that need it.
This will give you much-needed data about your customers for free! It’s one aspect you simply cannot afford to ignore.
5) Not being present on social media
“We’ll get to it. There’s no point in it now.” One of the biggest mistakes eCommerce owners make is ignoring social media.
Customers love to check social media pages to see if your business is legit. Reviews go a long way in showing customers how great you are.
As scary as it is to open up your business to reviews, it’s best to have it. If you have a great product and deliver great service, you should have nothing to worry about.
Plus, customers are forgiving if you have a few negative reviews but have responded and handled it well. It’s fishy sometimes if you have all great reviews.
One tip here is to keep your social media channels relevant to your company and its products or services. Provide engaging content. Posting for the sake of posting is easily identified and won’t sit well with followers.
6) Haphazard merchandising
A lot goes into listing products on your website. You need to take care of images, descriptions, pricing, T&Cs, and more. But that’s still not enough. If you haven’t categorized your products well and tagged them so that users can find them easily, it could become very difficult for users.
There’s a lot you can do with eCommerce merchandising which will not just help increase conversions but increase the average order value as well.
We recommend using strategies such as:
- Including an Intelligent eCommerce site search option
- Tagging all products correctly
- Sequencing your products so that it’s visually appealing and categorized appropriately
- Upselling and cross-selling that displays other products customers may be interested in
Merchandising needs an ample amount of dedicated time and resources. But one of the perks of living in the day and age of automation, you can use services or tools that will do it for you. One such reliable service is Tagalys that will optimize your merchandising strategies while eliminating the need for heavy resources and time.
7) Not researching more ways to sell
One way to sell is to display products, advertise your business, and get customers. But using just one strategy can fail for many reasons, some of which include:
- You can stagnate in the number of customers you get and stump your growth.
- You can enter periods of zero sales if this strategy fails.
- You’ll miss out on peak seasons that need different strategies to reap massive profits.
- Customers tend to move fast to the next competitor. You need to constantly find ways to attract new ones and retain existing ones.
There are plenty of strategies to learn with new ones being born quite frequently. A few of them include:
- Paid advertisements like SEM and PPC
- Digital marketing which includes emailers, SEO content marketing, and social media
- Upselling and cross-selling techniques
- Offering freebies and welcome gifts
- Maximizing on shopping sales such as Christmas, Thanksgiving and Black Friday
These are just some of the strategies to boost sales. A little research can open up a world of opportunities to get more customers.
BONUS TIP – Poor returns policy
eCommerce sees a high rate of returned products amounting to around 30% of all sales. But out of these returns, not all are genuine. A business can face tremendous loss if they have a high return rate due to the cost of logistics.
However, you can’t ignore your return policy. A recent survey showed that around 17% of shoppers would not make a purchase if the store didn’t have a return policy. And among those who made returns, 96% of shoppers would buy from a retailer again if they had a good returns experience.
While you absolutely must have a convenient return process, you also need to have strict policies in place to ensure you don’t suffer a loss on account of false returns.
One of the best ways to accept returns is through a form on your website. First, collect data on reasons for returns. Then allow the customer to confirm the return. This gives you much-needed data to develop your returns policy and it also gives you a heads up that a product is on its way back.
The mistakes to avoid also point you in the direction of the steps you should be taking to make your eCommerce store a success! An eCommerce store comes with high demands and high maintenance. You need to be ever-prepared to tackle it all.